Roby makes 'easy' decision to reject move Down Under

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The Independent Online

James Roby has turned down the chance of a career in Australia to stay with his hometown club at St Helens. The England hooker has agreed a four-year contract extension that will keep him at Saints until after the end of the 2014 season.

That is despite interest from several NRL clubs after a Four Nations tournament this autumn in which he was one of England's few successes.

"It was a big decision, but ultimately an easy decision for me," said the 25-year-old Roby. "Saints have been my only club and are only going to get stronger. We are moving to a fantastic new training facility this season and to a new stadium the next. We've got a top new coach in Royce Simmons and have made some great new signings."

Retaining Roby was a particular priority for Saints in the light of the retirement of Keiron Cunningham, whose No 9 shirt he has inherited for next season.

"James is one of the best players in the world and crucial to our continued success," said the club's chairman, Eamonn McManus.

Saints might find it more difficult to keep hold of another member of their first-choice front row. The England captain, James Graham, is out of contract at the end of this season and has already attracted the attention of several NRL clubs with his performances in Australia and New Zealand.

The future of the Wrexham-based Super League club Crusaders was hanging in the balance last night.

The prospective buyers of the club were meeting the Rugby Football League's operations director, Ralph Rimmer, at the Doncaster offices of the administrators who are currently running Crusaders.

The two sides were trying to reach agreement on the inherited debt that has created an impasse between them.

Crusaders were a success on the field in their first season in north Wales, reaching the play-offs and attracting bigger crowds than in their previous existence in Bridgend.

The League is desperate to keep them alive, but Widnes are waiting in the wings to take their place if they fold.

That would bring its own set of problems, because Widnes were yesterday included in the Championship fixtures for next season.